Our latest test scene simulates both daylight and low-light shooting. Pressing the 'lighting' buttons at the top of the widget switches between the two. The daylight scene is manually white balanced to give neutral grays, but the camera is left in its Auto setting for the low-light tests. Raw files are manually corrected. We offer three different viewing sizes: 'Full', 'Print', and 'Comp', with the latter two offering 'normalized' comparisons by using matched viewing sizes. The 'Comp' option chooses the largest-available resolution common to the cameras being compared.

Raw

The move to 24MP sees the X-T2 able to capture more detail than its 16MP predecessor, and similar levels of monochrome detail to its 24MP Bayer peers. The X-Trans color filter design protects the camera from the aliasing that we see in the Sony a6300 when shooting high contrast, fine detail with a sharp lens. However, slight glitchy aliasing in fine color detail suggest it's not a panacea: color detail capture seems to be the cost you pay.

The X-T2's noise performance is very good. Almost too good. Compared with the a6300 which uses a very similar sensor, you can see similar luminance noise levels but lower levels of chroma noise - suggesting it's being suppressed somewhere along the line. Still, this has little impact on the level of detail being retained, so shouldn't present any problems.

This doesn't cover up the fact that full frame cameras such as the similarly-priced Pentax K-1 will tend to outperform the X-T2 in low light. The noise levels may appear similar but the larger sensor camera is retaining much greater levels of detail.

JPEG

Fujifilm's JPEGs remain amongst our favorites, with a choice of subtle and likeable color modes that can be selected to match the subject of each photo. The default 'Provia/Standard' mode is fairly similar to the Nikon D500, with similarly warm greens and yellows, but a slightly cooler red. Compared to the much respected Canon color response, the X-T2 shows more yellow yellows, warmer more saturated greens and, again, a cooler red. Attractiveness of color is subjective, but we're comfortable stating that we're fans of warm greens and yellows, where the Fuji excels, but Canon reds are still hard to beat.

At first pass, the sharpening looks a little better than the Nikon D7200's, pulling out similar levels of detail but emphasizing it slightly more effectively. It gives a similar degree of emphasis but looks more naturalistic than Canon's default large radius sharpening. Comparing with its own Raw output appears to confirm it is taking a middle path between the two: using a relatively high intensity of sharpening which emphasizes moderate detail at the expense of the very finest detail being captured. It's a pleasant and sensible result even if it can't quite match the level of detail being expressed by Sony's rather sophisticated sharpening.

Noise reduction looks well-judged, with much better detail retention than some of its contemporaries. However, what our scene doesn't show well is its tendency to give low contrast and slightly smeary results on human faces at the highest JPEG settings. This is probably the JPEG engine's greatest weakness when compared to the best of its peers.

Noise Reduction 0 Noise Reduction -4 (minimum)
Although greatly improved compared with the previous generation of X-Trans camera, the noise reduction can still slightly over-smooth skin detail at the highest ISO settings. Turning down the noise reduction helps make it much less noticeable. Click here to download the Raw file.

Occasional 'textured' flare

In specific circumstances, light catching the sensor at the wrong angle can induce purple flare in the X-T2's images. When this occurs, a textured pattern (possibly a reflection of the sensor's own microlenses) will appear in the flare regions. This pattern is impossible to remove. Mirrorlessons.com has an in-depth write up, and it appears to be an issue related to the new X-Trans sensor. If you like to shoot backlit portraits wide open, pointing your camera toward the sun at angles to induce flare, this may be an occasionally serious issue.

Dynamic Range

The X-T2's dynamic range is identical to that of the X-Pro2, both in our Exposure Latitude and ISO Invariance tests. This means our commentary about that camera is equally applicable to the X-T2: it's one of the best APS-C performances we've yet seen.

Click here for more details of how the camera's DR modes work.